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|Location||Mauna Kea, Hawaii|
|Catchment area||0.135 km2 (0.052 sq mi)|
|Basin countries||United States|
|Max. width||0.1 km (0.062 mi)|
|Surface area||0.006 km2 (0.0023 sq mi)|
|Max. depth||2–3 m (6.6–9.8 ft)|
|Surface elevation||3,970 m (13,020 ft)|
Lake Waiau is a high-elevation lake located at 3,970 m (13,020 ft) above sea level on Mauna Kea, on the island of Hawaiʻi. It is arguably the seventh highest lake in the USA  (higher than Lake Titicaca), and one of very few lakes at all in the state of Hawaiʻi. It is relatively small, only about 100 m across, and varies in size as the water level rises and falls. At high water levels a small outlet stream appears at the northwest end, but it is absorbed into the ground after a short distance. The name means "swirling water" in Hawaiian, though it is usually rather placid. It usually freezes in winter, but aquatic insects such as midges and beetles can be found breeding in the water.
Lake Waiau is located inside the Pu'u Waiau cinder cone at an altitude of 3970 m. It is approximately heart shaped and its diameter reaches about a 100 m. The average surface area of the lake is around 6000 m2. Its size of the surface area fluctuates significantly over the year. It reaches its peak during spring with a maximal depth between 2 m and 3 m and by the end of the summer it often has shrunk to one third of its original size with a maximal depth below 1 m.
Temporary shrinkage after 2010
The is of some importance in Hawaiian mythology. Aside from Poliʻahu there are two additional snow deities Lilinoe ans Waiau, who are associated with Mauna Kea and according to Westervelt the lake was probably named after the goddess of the same, who used to bath in it. Originally Hawaiians considered the whole peak region of Mauna Kea including lake Waiau a sacred site and only priests and chieftain where allowed to access it. Later after the formation of the Hawaiian kingdom the peak region was occasionally visited by members of the royal family. The last one to do so was queen Emma in 1881, who also took a bath in the lake during her visit.
- Jane Ellen Massey: Lake Waiau: A Study of a Tropical Alpine Lake, Past and Present. University of Hawaii Press, 1978
- Alfred H. Woodcock, Meyer Rubin, R. A. Duce: Deep Layer of Sediments in Alpine Lake in the Tropical Mid-Pacific. Science, New Series, Vol. 154, No. 3749 (Nov. 4, 1966), pp. 647–648 (JSTOR)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Lake Waiau.|
- Volcano Watch: Lake Waiau is shrinking fast at Hawaii 24/7
- Lake Waiau, Hawaii, USA at lakelubbers.com
- Mauna Kea - The Hike To Lake Waiau at instanthawaii.com
- Lake Waiau
- "The Highest Lake in the USA". Retrieved 2008-10-11.
- Ehlmann, Bethany L.; Raymond Arvidson,; Bradley Jolliff,; Sarah Johnson,; Brian Ebel,; Nicole Lovenduski,; Julie Morris,; Jeffery Byers,; Nathan Snider,; Robert Criss,. Hydrologic and isotopic modeling of alpine Lake Waiau, Mauna Kea, Hawai'i. (1). Pacific Science. 2005. HighBeam Research. (February 16, 2014). http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-129714347.html
- Disappearing Lake Waiau Is a Mystery to Scientists. Honolulu Star - Advertiser. 2013. HighBeam Research. (February 16, 2014). http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P3-3122526991.html
- Hawaiian Culture & Mauna Kea auf den Webseiten der Mauna Kea Visitor Information Station (abgerufen 22. Februar 2014)
- H. Arlo Nimmo: Pele, Volcano Goddess of Hawai'i: A History. McFarland, 2011, ISBN 9780786463473, S. 28 (excerpt, p. 28, at Google Books)
- Alan C. Ziegler: Hawaiian Natural History, Ecology, and Evolution. University of Hawaii Press, 2002, ISBN 0824821904, S. 94 (excerpt, p. 94, at Google Books)
- Erin Miller: On the rise: Lake Waiau benefits from wetter weather. Hawaii Tribune Herald, 30. Mai 2014